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Room for Both?

As part of its August bulletin, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute asks: "Is there room for teaching and research in a postdoc experience?" According to HHMI's Andrea Widener, "few postdocs are getting teaching experience now," though those who desire such training can find an increasing number of opportunities. These, she says, "range from formal teaching postdocs to programs that expose postdocs to teaching while they work in a traditional research position." However, Widener adds, learning to teach while in the midst of a research-centric postdoc has its challenges. "Many faculty discourage graduate students or postdocs from going after teaching experiences because they fear that time away from the lab will mean fewer publications — and more difficulty getting a job," she says. Yale Univeristy's Jo Handelsman — who is also an HHMI professor — tells Widener that for "people [who] want to go into academic positions, a pure teaching postdoc can be fatal." Plus, Handelsman adds, even those institutions that tend to be less research-intensive still value faculty candidates who have experience in strong research programs. Indeed, Widener spoke with two researchers who both "enjoyed formal teaching postdocs," but later ended up taking on a "second postdoc to get the research experience they'd need to get a good faculty position."

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.